Over the past few years, the need for business acumen skills as a standalone competency has become a critical focus of most CEOs. As the global economy continues to manage challenges, today’s organizations need leaders, managers, and employees who can directly contribute to the achievement of their goals and objectives by making the right business decisions. To do so requires several key elements of business acumen.
Essentially, every employee needs the skills and tools to think more like an owner of the business and to understand, set, and execute business strategy. It is this understanding that allows the organization to measure the effectiveness of their business strategy through financial performance.
So what is business acumen? And how do we teach the entire team?
The term business acumen may be just two words, but it encompasses a lot!
Simply put, business acumen is understanding how a company makes money and achieves its goals and objectives. Business acumen, however, is not just one skill but a set of skills working together to help make a leader and their business prosperous.
Ultimately, individuals with business acumen have an understanding of the various parts of a business and how they are interconnected. This understanding gives team members the ability to make smart decisions in any situation.
If you feel like you weren’t born with business acumen, don’t worry! Most experts believe it’s learned rather than innate.
Leaders who develop sound business acumen are able to sort through the noise to focus on the key elements of importance to a business, find solutions for business problems, and lead his or her team to goal achievement.
Based on our web research, here are four of the most important elements:
1. Business Strategy Development and Application
As the old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
The best business acumen learning initiatives start with the creation of an overall business strategy. Furthermore, the goal is to present learners with information, models, frameworks, and tools of strategic thinking and planning. All of which is to be able to effectively implement the business strategy.
2. A Clear Understanding of Financial Acumen
After team players have a deep understanding of business strategy, the next element of a strong business acumen learning journey should focus on financial acumen.
This includes presenting participants with content and application of the full-cycle processes. Income statements, the balance sheet, the cash flow report, and the metrics of business performance used to gauge success.
3. Tools, Skills, and Concepts of Marketing
There is no question that the face of marketing has evolved dramatically in recent years. As a result of this evolution, we’re seeing increased demand for automated tools like HubSpot and Search Engine Optimization platforms.
Content-based marketing, account-based marketing, and social media-based communications are standard strategies like never before.
A strong business acumen learning engagement will present participants with the critical elements needed to understand and participate in today’s complex marketing ecosystem.
Things, like developing a strong brand and creating awareness, are timeless marketing classics. However, marketing and sales alignment now must utilize social media, pay per click advertising, digital re-marketing, and instant customer usage of data in order to thrive in today’s marketplace. That is if an organization intends to be part of an evolved business acumen strategy.
4. An Understanding of Operations, Supply Chain, and Manufacturing
Global competition has forced every organization to re-think their operational strategy and increase their ability to be operationally efficient. A great business acumen learning engagement presents participants with all of the information and tools they need to see and understand the system of operations. All this while with a goal to drive costs out of the system while also improving quality and customer focus.